Monday, September 28, 2009

NEO Roller Derby Hits Back

Akron Roller Girls send Burning River down in flames
Tallmadge, Ohio – September 19, 2009 – The NEO Rock ‘n’ Roller Girls hosted the Burning River Roller Girl’s B-Team, Hazmat Crew, in a bout that donated money to the Battered Women’s Shelter of Summit and Medina Counties. NEO beat Hazmat 163-53 in the bout titled “No More Hits,” a spoof of the INXS album.
When NEO first hanged out their shingle, Burning River Roller Girls from Cleveland loaned them the nail. I realize that’s an obscure analogy, but it couldn’t be more true. As a fledgling league coming of age in the rapidly growing sea of new roller derby, NEO needed someone to look up to. The most logical choice was the league to the North. It proved to be a wonderful relationship where both leagues prospered from having things to learn and teach as well as sharing resources. But all love and hugs aside, when roller girls skate onto the track, there’s no mercy.
Last season, NEO hosted the BRRG B-Team and lost 145-90. Understandable considering that BRRG as a league has been bouting since 2007 and the B-Team included some very good players. To say that NEO has come a long way since them is an understatement. They have played four away games (with only one win) and the game against Hazmat was their 4th of their ’09 home season. Mix in with that some intense training and “boot camps” and you’ve got a team that is determined to play their hearts out from the first whistle to the last.
The game started with Scarlet GoDancin on the Jammer line against Punk’d Pixie. These two women have worked with and against each other off and on for over a year, and their abilities are evenly matched. But that first jam set the tone of what was to become a Hazmat struggle the whole night. Scarlet scored 4 and called it; holding Pixie to 0. Hazmat was able to put one point on the board in jam 3, but didn’t score again until jam 11 where the score had stretched to 55-9. NEO has a good pool of jammers to rotate including powerhouses: Chrissie B. Hynde, Scarlet GoDancin, Phantom Fox, Taking Names, Teeny Houdini, Twin Pistol and rookie Amy Warhol N. And although each of those skaters also works in at blocking, the rotation helps to keep each jammer fresh. Hazmat seemed to be limited in their jammer pool relying mostly on Pixie and Rainbow Fright with some help from Slambassador and Syren VanDahl. But the end of the first period saw NEO in a 87-25 lead.
Scarlet and Pixie started the second period off as well, holding each other to an even 4 point jam. Twin Pistol showed some amazing resilience as she was knocked around like a pinball, forced into one-footers around turns and clinging to teammates for stability, but still triumphed her way into lead jammer and scored 9 points. Chrissie B. Hynde had a similar scene when she was knocked down and around, but with Clydesdale like grace still managed to come out on top. Amy Warhol N. has proved to be a rookie sensation with her ability to adjust to fast paced derby. She’s as tall and graceful as Phantom with the aggression of Chrissie and in her 7 turns at jammer managed to put 18 points on the board. She has a good shot at being named “Rookie of the Year.” Oddly enough, she also had the most trips to the box from NEO with 3; rookie mistakes apparently. Chelle Shock, a BRRG rookie, who despite being an aggressive and effective blocker managed to earn the Penalty Princess crown for the most time spent in the Cheater’s Chair with 5, although she had some stiff competition from her teammates. Team Captain, Punk’d Pixie, was ejected from the second half due to an excessive amount of trips to the penalty box in a period. Clearly, the amount of penalties, both major and minor, committed by Hazmat Crew proves how desperate they were to stop NEO’s scoring train. It was to no avail. NEO ended the game with 163-53. Top scorer of the evening was Scarlet GoDancin with 51 in her 8 turns at jammer followed closely by the rest of her jammer teammates.
It must feel bitter sweet to beat your sister league; a league that helped to nurture and pave your road to success. But in derby, when the game’s over, the friendships are still there; perhaps even stronger for the wear.
Next month NEO will host Assault City Roller Derby from Syracuse, NY in a bout called “Learning to Brawl,” a spoof of the classic Pretender’s album. The proceeds of that event will benefit the Girl Scouts of Northeast Ohio.

For more information about the NEO Rock ‘n’ Roller Girls visit

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